Jan Bel Jan of Jupiter, Fla., was elected president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA) at the organization’s recent 73rd annual meeting, held in Phoenix.
A Pittsburgh native, Bel Jan comes from a golf family. Her father, George Bel Jan, was a golf pro and superintendent, and three of his five brothers were PGA professionals. Bel Jan is a landscape architecture graduate of West Virginia University.
Bel Jan began her design career with Tom Fazio, with whom she held a senior position in golf course design, construction and project management for more than 20 years. Her experience as a registered landscape architect, certified arborist and former assistant superintendent has provided her with a unique outlook on the playability, strategy, ecology, economics and aesthetics of golf courses.
“I want to carry on the mission of ASGCA past presidents Greg Martin, John Sanford, Jeff Blume and others,” says Bel Jan. “Thoughtfulness for our clients so we may continue providing the best product, helping show a better economic way to do things, and greater recognition for the work of ASGCA members.”
Bel Jan is the second woman to serve as ASGCA president. Alice Dye was the first. Like Dye, Bel Jan is recognized for being a proponent of all golfers playing from the most appropriate tees.
“I had known for a long time that the most-forward tees were not far enough forward,” Bel Jan says. “This was not only about women, but children and older men too. There has to be a way for everyone to play from markers and feel that they belong and are valued. I went through 20 different terms before I decided on ‘Scoring Tees.’ Everyone wants to score better, especially the best players.”
Bel Jan’s design portfolio includes dozens of projects, among them Jupiter Island Club in Hobe Sound, Fla.; Pelican’s Nest Golf Club in Bonita Springs, Fla.; Green Valley Country Club in Greenville, S.C.; Boca Lago Country Club in Boca Raton, Fla.; and The Old Collier Golf Club in Naples, Fla. She has been recognized by the USGA in its “Women and Golf Course Architecture” museum exhibit, and she serves on the board of the National Alliance for Accessible Golf.
Bel Jan will serve as ASGCA president through fall 2020.